Nubra Valley the beautiful valley of flowers

The Nubra Valley, situated to the north of Leh in India, was originally an overland route between Tibet and Turkestan. The average altitude of the valley is about 10,000 ft. Nubra literally means the ‘Valley of flowers’. From June to August the fertile land of Nubra gets covered with colorful roses and beautiful lavender bushes. The beauty of the valley is further enhanced by the surrounding snowcapped Himalayas which nestles the greenery of the valley. The enchanting rivers of this breathtaking landscape including Shyok and Siachen also makes Nubra an ideal tourist spot.

One can reach this wonderful valley by buses of the Jammu and Kashmir State Transport Corporation. The roads of this valley are maintained by the Indian army. It is not uncommon to face natural hazards while visiting Nubra, because of the sudden weather changes that are frequent at the high altitude. It is necessary that on tours to Ladakh, one carries ample supplies of required items, as Nubra can offer only basic requirements. Besides, drinking a lot of water during the tour is advised.  Before entering Nubra, at Pulu / Pallu which is a military check post, permits are checked and details are entered as per the requirement of the Indian Army.

Diskit is the main town of the Nubra Valley. It has a small market bustling with activities, simple hotels, guest houses and odd looking stores. Buddhist monasteries have flourished in this valley. The famous monastery Diskit Gompa is over 350 years old. It is the oldest and the largest of the monasteries.

As you move within the village, a distinct smell of smoky kitchens, goats, chang (local brew) and yak buttermilk fills the air. The road from Diskit towards the Hundar village is a stretch of gorgeous sand dunes. At Hundar you will find double-humped camels. A camel safari will take you along the soft white sandy deserts with rolling sand dunes. The Hundar Gompa has some old frescos and a statue of Buddha. The monastery is also the best place in the village for a view of the dipping sun.

An enjoyable day's walk will bring you to Sumur. The Samtanling Gompa is worth a visit. It houses a fine collection of idols, frescos and tangkhas (painted and embroidered scrolls). Campsites are famous at Sumur and they offer basic holiday accommodations in tents.  Living at the campsites is a memorable experience. Campsites are usually near the rivers and at night it is fascinating to see the sky studded with numerous stars and hear the murmur of the river, as it flows by.

The farthest point where your permit allows you to travel in Nubra is the Panamik. Army trucks are the only means of transportation in the area. Beyond Panamik is the Tibet Border a restricted area and completely controlled by the Indian Army. Panamik is famous for its hot water springs, which are believed to have medicinal qualities. A warm bath experience can be enjoyed. At Panamik you can visit a 250 year old monastery, the Ensa Gompa. It lies on the top of a rock and overlooks the snow-peaked mountains of the valley. This Gompa seems not very far away, but one needs to walk six to seven hours to reach the Gompa. Yet another good place to stroll in the afternoons is a place called Tiger, which is about three km towards Panamik.

The most important room in a Ladakhi house is its kitchen where meals are served while sitting around the massive black stove. It is a place to warm up, a greeting place of the family members, where home chores are done and prayers are said. This simple lifestyles of the Ladakhis and the beauty of the nature around, calls every tourist around the world to visit Nubra, at least once.

It was in 1994 that the Indian Government allowed tourists to enter the Nubra valley to view its captivating beauty. The natives of the land are Buddhists. Nubra lies to the north of Leh, across the 18,380 ft. (5600 m) Khardung La Pass, the highest motorable road in the world. Nubra and Shyok, the two valleys in the Nubra region lie beneath the Karakoram range. The longest glacier, Siachen is situated at the head of the Nubra valley.